The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos

The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos

You might think you know what it takes to lead a happier life… more money, a better job, or Instagram-worthy vacations. You’re dead wrong. Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos has studied the science of happiness and found that many of us do the exact opposite of what will truly make our lives better. Based on the psychology course she teaches at Yale--the most popular class in the university’s 300-year history--Laurie will take you through the latest scientific research and share some surprising and inspiring stories that will change the way you think about happiness. For an even deeper dive into the research we talk about in the show and to sign up to our newsletter visit: happinesslab.fmiHeartMedia is the exclusive podcast partner of Pushkin Industries.

Episodes

April 5, 2021 31 min
Sarah Hurwitz grew up thinking there was little the great texts of Judaism could teach her - she even hatched a plot to get out of Hebrew school. But in adulthood she discovered that The Torah contains instructions to act with gratitude, kindness and solidarity that all chime with the latest happiness research.   Sarah is author of Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life in Judaism (After Fina...
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Double Date is a new podcast with Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue. The pair have been blissfully married for more than 40 years, and wanted to explore what makes some relationships work with couples from President and Former First Lady Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter; to Sting and Trudie Styler; and Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka. Dr. Laurie Santos thinks what's uncovered in the show chimes with the scientific research on how to ...
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January 25, 2021 34 min
Moving more is great for your happiness - but many of us decide to exercise because we're unhappy with our bodies and long to change them. What should be fun and life-enhancing often becomes saturated with self-loathing. Jessamyn Stanley identified as a "fat and awkward weirdo", who shied away from exercise until she realised that it was her own body-shaming that was holding her back. She tells Dr Laurie Santos how she ...
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Diets and "healthy" eating fads are a January fixture - but few of us stick to these harsh regimes. And when the dieting ends, we often go back to the "bad" foods we craved during our fasting. Psychotherapist Andrea Wachter says this dieting "roller coaster" makes our minds obsess over food and causes our bodies no end of harm. Andrea stepped off the roller coaster by taking a kinder and calmer approach to t...
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January 11, 2021 35 min
Psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach felt too stressed and busy to spend time with her elderly mother - until she had a lightning moment of realisation. Why couldn't she enjoy living in the moment with her beloved parent? What fears and insecurities were preventing her from devoting time to her mom? Tara tells Dr Laurie Santos how she created RAIN - a mindfulness practise that allows us to Recognise, Allow, Investigat...
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January 4, 2021 38 min
We often start a new year hoping to make big changes in how we look, feel or act. This can involve a lot of self-criticism and adopting things like tough diets and brutal exercise regimes. But being hard on ourselves doesn't deliver results. Dr Laurie Santos examines why being a nasty drill sergeant to ourselves is less effective than being a kind coach; and hears from researcher and author Kristin Neff about why developing sel...
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A lot of the festive events and traditions we look forward to each year will be very different in 2020. Gatherings might be smaller than we'd like... or cancelled altogether. Family tensions might be heightened too. But Dr Laurie Santos has gathered a group of top happiness experts to share their tips, tricks and science-backed strategies to make this holiday season as good as it can be.... and maybe even great. Joining Laurie ...
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Exchanging holiday gifts is supposed to be joyful... but for many of us it is a source of stress, anxiety and hurt feelings. To transform the way you think about the act of giving and receiving presents, Dr Laurie Santos has gathered together the top experts in the field of happiness to share their tips, tricks and science-backed strategies. They even tackle the thorny issue of giving money in lieu of a present - with some surprisi...
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November 6, 2020 17 min
Elections can make us feel anxious, angry and mistrustful - emotions that are all detrimental to our happiness. Dr Laurie Santos talks to Niala Boodhoo from the news podcast Axios Today about the simple steps we can take to increase our wellbeing during stressful and uncertain times. Check out Axios Today, where Niala delivers the news every week day - in just 10 minutes. Subscribe to Axios Today wherever you get your podcasts.  L...
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The Buddha was born to a royal family... and it shocked him when he found out that no amount of money or power could keep suffering and loss at bay forever. The quest to accept that life brings us pain was key to the development of Buddhism as a major religion. Dr Laurie Santos is joined by Liz Angowski and Robert Wright (author of 'Why Buddhism is True') to explore The Buddha's teachings about unhappiness and how mindf...
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Epictetus was born into slavery and beaten until he was lame... but he became one of Ancient Rome's greatest thinkers by accepting every setback as an opportunity to learn and grow. Philosophy professor Bill Irvine joins Dr Laurie Santos to delve into Stoicism - an ancient school of thought which urges us to reframe how we view the problems we all face and defuse the negative emotions of anger and envy that can be so harmful to...
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September 21, 2020 30 min
Plato likened us all to charioteers trying to control two wayward horses. The steeds represent the competing wants and desires that constantly pull us off course and away from a happier life. Yale professor Tamar Gendler joins Dr Laurie Santos to examine how the ancient Greek philosopher didn't only diagnose the internal tensions we all face, but also offered a cure. The horses can be made to pull in the direction you command.....
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He gave us biology, physics and drama... but Greek philosopher Aristotle also thought deeply about how humans can flourish and live happy lives of virtue. Yale professor Tamar Gendler tells Dr Laurie Santos about Aristotle's wellbeing insights and how he recommended taking daily "baby steps" towards becoming the sort of happy, moderate person we aspire to be. A kind of ancient "fake it, 'til you make it" eth...
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The Happiness Lab presents an episode of Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History, in which Malcolm explores the delicate science of hiring nihilism, examined in five deeply-personal case studies. Revisionist History is his journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every episode re-examines something from the past—an event, a person, an idea, even a song—and asks whether we got it right the first time. Because sometim...
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June 29, 2020 42 min
You might detest bigotry and injustice, but have you done anything to address these problems? There are many reasons we stay silent and inactive when we know we should intervene to defend the rights of others. We look at the psychology underpinning our reluctance to act and the ways in which we can match our moral beliefs with concrete actions. Featuring James Barr and Dan Hudson, co-hosts of the podcast 'A Gay and a Non-Gay...
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June 22, 2020 40 min
Feeling you belong to a group can be great - but it also has a darker side, leading us down an unhappy path of hatred and violence towards people with different identities and backgrounds. Dr Laurie Santos talks to Mina Cikara - whose homeland descended into a bloody civil war - and Jamil Zaki about how we can fight hatred with empathy, kindness and difficult conversations. (Deep canvassing clips courtesy of The Leadership Lab http...
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June 15, 2020 30 min
Cait Flanders went deep into debt so she could buy all the clothes, books and gadgets she thought would make her happier. It was only when she junked it all that she found that 'doing' rather than 'having' is a better way to spend your salary. Dr Laurie Santos examines why investing in experiences like concerts, vacations and dining out can give us a long-term happiness boost that buying things just can't match....
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We all have bad habits - things we eat, drink, do or say that cause us unhappiness. We repeat these behaviours over and over again - almost as if we are on autopilot. But we can break free from them, and use the mechanics of habit formation to make doing good things feel effortless. Dr Laurie Santos meets a scientist who sleeps in her running gear and a former army doctor who went to Vietnam to fight a wave of heroin abuse in the m...
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June 1, 2020 35 min
The world is full of people and things that can make you happy, but you have to notice them to get the full effect. Smartphones are technological marvels, but the hold they have over our limited attention is causing us to miss out on more than we realize. Dr Laurie Santos finds that even having a phone nearby can reduce how happy you feel. Laurie chats with Catherine Price, a science journalist, founder of ScreenLifeBalance.com and...
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May 25, 2020 39 min
'Time famine' is when you just don't feel you have a spare moment... and it can make you miserable. It's a feeling Dr Laurie Santos knows only too well, so she seeks help from her time affluence hero, Idler author Tom Hodgkinson. Tom lives life to the full, but he ensures he carves out time to wander around, think, chat with friends and even take naps. He argues that 'idling' is vital to leading a happy, cre...
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